How Does Pregnancy Affect Sleep Apnea Risk?

The way you breathe once you are pregnant may be different from how you used to breathe before. It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to suffer from snoring for the first time in her life. The body goes through some major changes during pregnancy, and this will have an effect on just about everything a person does.
Let’s look at how pregnancy could affect breathing and lead to snoring problems.

Pregnancy Progression and Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea diagramSleep apnea is a kind of sleep that includes interrupted breathing. When suffering from sleep apnea, a person will not breathe normally and will sometimes have trouble getting air to flow freely through their throat. This can cause snoring, but it can also lead to even more serious problems that are more than just a discomfort or an inconvenience.
As a person goes through the stages of pregnancy, they will experience more and more trouble with their breathing. This will mostly affect them when they are sleeping, and they may find that they have trouble getting enough rest because their airway is obstructed.

The reason this happens is partially because of weight gain. Being overweight or gaining weight can cause breathing difficulties. This can create excess fatty tissue in the throat that makes it difficult for a person to breathe like they normally would. As a woman progresses through pregnancy, she will usually continue to gain weight until the baby is born, and that can cause a buildup of fatty tissue in the throat that only worsens until the end of the pregnancy.

How Someone Knows They Are Suffering from Sleep Apnea

You may notice some symptoms of disrupted sleep, such as waking up in the middle of the night, tiredness in the morning or reports from your sleeping partner that you were snoring. If your breathing pauses while you sleep or you wake up gasping for breath, then you could be experiencing sleep apnea. Another symptom can be excessive nighttime urination. This is called nocturia, and it can be really inconvenient, especially for someone who is in the late stages of pregnancy and who is having trouble moving about.

What You Can Do About It

If you think you may be experiencing sleep apnea, then you should consult your doctor about the problem. What your doctor may want to do is place you into a sleep study, where your sleeping conditions and activities are monitored during the night. This can help determine exactly what is going on and what steps need to be taken once a diagnosis is reached.

Whatever you do, just realize that snoring, sleep apnea and other breathing and sleeping problems are a common part of being pregnant. They should be addressed, however, before they become more serious.